“I don’t think Ted Thompson wants [Jones],” agent Frank Bauer told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel at the Scouting Combine. Citing an unnamed source, McGinn also reports that Jones hasn’t been offered a contract by the Packers — and that he likely won’t be.
If Bauer was the unnamed source for that last part, he went on the record about the wrong thing. McGinn writes that Bauer said he had “appointments with a handful of teams to discuss Jones.”
The first rule of Tampering Club is to not talk about Tampering Club. While agents break no rules by attempting to “gauge the market” (indeed, it’s the smart thing to do for their clients), it’s still a violation for teams to engage in these discussions via “appointments” at the Scouting Combine. The truth is that every team does it, and that the NFL only enforces the rule that prohibit such communications when the evidence is so clear that the league has no choice but to act.
If the Packers truly don’t want Jones, it doesn’t matter. But there’s still a chance Rodgers will make a belated pitch for the guy who missed a pair of games with a knee injury and played with undisclosed broken ribs but still generated a career high in receiving yards, one year after catching a career-high 14 touchdowns passes.
“I don’t know many quarterbacks who could have done that other than Peyton Manning,” Bauer said in 2011 after Rodgers spoke up for Jones. “That’s rare for a quarterback . . . to do that. That’s really neat. James is really excited about coming back. He’s very happy.”
This year, Rodgers has yet to make a public plea for Jones to return. As a result, his happiness in 2014 may have to come from another quarterback, coach, and/or G.M. deciding that Jones should be added to their team. Though the specific teams interested in Jones aren’t known, Bauer’s remarks make it clear that more than one is kicking the tires.